Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas lights

Things are getting a lot different around here now.

Tonight we took the kids for the annual dinner and Life College Christmas lights event. Dinner was fine and nothing unusual there.

The lights however were a lot different. Christopher was a lot more interested in them this year, looking and sometimes pointing.

The girls however had their heads in their iPod's the whole time. Yes I know it is the same lights we've seen for the last decade or so, but can't they at least look at them?

I expect this trend to continue with the girls as Christopher gets older and we start to do more 'toddler' things with him.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My advice to college Freshman

I have posted a new entry in my Tech blog about advice to college freshmen.

Read it here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Universal Wish List

Most people have an Amazon wish list. Pretty cool way of letting others know what you would like for a birthday, Christmas etc. It is also pretty handy to remind yourself of things you'd like to buy, but without the financial disaster of buying it when you find it.

The biggest problem has always been that there is a lot of stuff you'd like that you can't get from Amazon. Well, they've addressed that problem with their 'universal wish list' feature.

It is pretty cool. Basically you have a 'favorite' in your browser that runs some JavaScript when you are on a page you'd like to add to your wish list.

Adding the favorite is easy. Create a wish list in Amazon, then on the left side look for the 'universal wish list' link and follow the directions.

For example, Fox Mustang Restoration doesn't have a wish list feature. So I navigate to the page of the item I would like for the Capri, select the 'Add to Wish List' favorite in Firefox. Amazon then displays a popup for you to pick the picture of the item, change the description and add the price. Hit 'save' and then 'save' again on the Amazon page and your item is added to the wish list.

Buying from the wish list is a little more difficult, but not much. When your friend buys something, the select the 'Shop This Store' button on the wish list, then submit their email address so the item can be marked as 'bought'. So no duplicates.

I actually think Amazon missed the UI on this. What they should have done was opened the link in an iFrame, and put a 'yes I bought this' link in a toolbar above the linked-to page.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Bathroom remodeling sucks

We started our bathroom remodel over 6 weeks ago. The contractor (who is a family friend) did a great job, leaving me to do some of the basic stuff. Like painting, installing new faucets etc.

6 weeks later, we still can't use our bathroom.

Wow did this thing get out of control fast. Painting took 2 weeks because kid commitments didn't allow me to work on it for more than a few hours each weekend. Now that the walls have color I started changing out the faucets. What a total cluster- this is.

Turns out that our builder decided to use some unknown-name sinks in the house. Which don't have overflows and have the drains almost 1/2" wider than a normal sink. So after installing the new drain, it leaks. After taking it apart 3 times, cleaning the sealing areas, tightening as tight as I can etc. I went to Home Depot. And Lowe's. Neither has no-overflow drains. At all.

So I go online. I can find them, but for $110 each. Screw that.

For now I've packed the holes with plumber's putty, but we'll see if that helps once it dries. Probably not with my luck.

So nothing else got done today. All day with the stupid drains. Plus kid activities of course.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Halloween pictures

So what if it was a week ago? I finally was able to upload some pictures of the kids from Halloween.

It was a rainy, chilly night, so lot a lot of fun for a Saturday Halloween.

He left the costume on for about 10 minutes.

Meghan was too old/cool to go out, so she stayed home and handed out candy. No idea why there is an Edward in my foyer.

I don't know what she was trying to be. I didn't ask ;-)

All the kids made skeletons out of milk jugs. When Deb arrived for the class party they were in the kid's chairs.

I just like this one of Christopher:

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Allatoona CTAE Advisory Meeting

Today was my first CTAE Advisory committee meeting at Meghan's high school. CTAE stands for 'Career, Technical and Agricultural' (no idea where the 'E' comes from). Basically it is the department for everything 'not core' in High School.

I was asked to join by the Business & computer teacher, who I've spoken with a few times and offered to help. The other members include bankers, real estate, small business owners, construction managers and a couple of parents.

All I have to say is 'Wow'. The classrooms and subjects offered by this department are incredible. Since it covers a lot of topics, we had a tour of each area. How about an ex-Weather Channel video desk/backdrop with a state of the art Video system? Or a state of the art 3-D model rendering machine for the drafting group? Or a commercial kitchen for Culinary Arts that makes most restaurants look like a BBQ Grill? Or access to the entire Adobe authoring suite for HTML, Flash and animation creation?

I also was able to see a couple of the classroom that Meghan takes her classes in and can now understand some of the things she told me about.

These are definitely not the schools we went to.

Since this was the first meeting we didn't discuss much about directions for the department, feedback on course criteria etc. but that will come in our next meeting.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Cute pictures of kids on Facebook

As you should know by now, the Internet never forgets. Go to the 'way back machine' or even google for old articles and you can find things online that predate the internet. Or pictures you thought you deleted from that wild 'shopping' weekend with friends!

So how do you think your kids are going to react in 10 years (or less!) when they get their own Facebook page and see all stupid pictures of them that you've posted over the years? Or when their siblings beat you to it and tag them, for all their tweener/teen friends to see?

Just saying ;-)

Monday, November 02, 2009

What's that Skirbit thing on your blog?

If you look in the upper right corner of my blog you'll see a box for 'Skirbit' asking for ideas on what to blog about.

Skirbit is a tool created by a couple of Atlanta-based developers that provides a nice interface for people to suggest topics for a blogger. It is free for one blog and reasonably priced if you have multiple.

So if you want me to write about something, suggest it!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Catch up and Blog a Day in November

Sorry I haven't blogged in more than 6 weeks, this has been one crazy fall.

Softball with Courtney has taken up a lot of our time. Except for the 12 days where it rained every day and we were rained out 5 games. While we didn't get any flooding, it was pretty bad less than a mile away, including a couple of washed out roads. After making up all the games (except 2) we went into the Halloween Havoc tournament and the girls won first place! It was by no means easy since both teams we played were pretty good.

Meghan's big activity this fall was Color Guard for Allatoona Band. 3 days a week after school, plus every Friday night and most Saturdays pretty much defined her fall. The last game was Friday (10/30) so she really enjoyed sleeping in yesterday!

Both girls are doing well in new schools (High School and Middle School!)

I have a number of pictures I'll post up over the next couple of weeks.

As for the Capri, nothing was done all fall. See above for why ;-) I hope to get back into it next weekend.

For the second year in a row I am going to try to blog a day in November. We'll see if I can keep up this year!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy birthday to me!

I know it is tacky to sing happy birthday to yourself. But it is my Birthday!

As often happens, my birthday didn't turn out the way we'd expected or planned. You can blame Mother Nature for that. Had it not down poured most of the day Courtney was supposed to have a 7:30 softball game. And have Open House at 7.

Thus, the original plan was to have me pick up Courtney, take her to dinner for my birthday, then to softball. Yes, the 4th year in a row I was to spend my birthday at the field. Meanwhile, Deb was going to drop Christopher off with Meghan, then go to the Open House.

Knowing that we wouldn't be home until late, we had my cake and family presents Monday night. Deb made me my favorite cake (Carrot/Spice) with vanilla frosting. Of course with a house full of women, that wouldn't be acceptable, so she also made a chocolate cake for everyone else.

As you can see, Christopher likes chocolate cake!

Do you remember as a kid when your parents gave up on surprising you for birthdays and Christmas? They either gave you a catalog or told you to give them a list? Well, I'm at that point again. Deb had no idea what to get me, so she asked me to pick from some catalogs. First Sears and the Eastwood for car parts, paint supplies and tools.

While I deliberately picked a lot of things, she found the two or three I really needed and got them. Overall, a very nice evening.

Since we didn't have softball tonight, I met Deb and Christopher at his gymnastics class and got to watch him do the balance beam and bounce like a lunatic down the trampoline.

When I got home, I had a very pleasant surprise.

For those who don't know what these, they are some of the best candies ever made. I know it is not chocolate, but as a kid I used to get these every chance I had. They are almost impossible to find, but Deb found a case on Amazon!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Another middle school math book

A couple of years ago my oldest was always asking for help with her math homework and I couldn't remember the details of what she was asking. At the time we found a book by Danica McKellar (yes from the Wonder Years) aimed at Middle School Girls. See my review from back then.

Well, Meghan is now in High School and Courtney is now in Middle School. The book is still applicable and we reference it every once and awhile. However, it did not have a lot of pre-algebra. Well, Danica has released another book, this one aimed at pre-Algebra.

The URL for the book's home page is here.

For those with boys, here is a tip: get the books and read them. Then help them with their homework. They don't need to tell anyone that you used a 'girls book' to help them. (Plus I know of a couple of boys who used them, but I won't tell who ...)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Are you jealous of your kid?

Style.com has an interesting article asking if you are jealous of your child. At first I’m sure you’re thinking ‘no, stupid question’. But if you’re like me a second or two later you think ‘yeah, maybe’ (and not just about the amount of time they spend with your better half).

Part of it is being a Dad (or Mom) where you’re shouldering all the responsibilities. Your children aren’t thinking about college, mortgage payments, the economy, how Grandma and Grandpa are doing in this economy or their health. The kids are thinking about video games, TV and what they are going to get for their birthdays.

Then you read the article and realize that they are talking about the ‘my kid is better than me’ or ‘my kid is better than I was at that age’. I’m not sure I agree with that with my kids. They are different, have different skills, interests and weaknesses. Yes they get to do things that we didn't, but there are also things we did and experienced that they probably won't.

Plus I’m over 40 now so hindsight always makes you be better than you really were right?

I first read the article last Wednesday. I thought about it a little bit on the way home, but started thinking of it a lot when I got home and started helping with homework. Then I realized that while I am jealous of some of the things they have and are able to do, I have no intention of going through the ‘growing up’ again.

Meghan is now a freshman in high school. I remember that age. And I hated it. I pretty much hated everything about High School until I met Deb. Then things became tolerable. While I like to ask questions about the school and the kids and what they are doing, I really don’t want to do it again. However, I remember how important it is to have someone to talk to so I ask lots of questions. Being a young lady she has different problems than I did at that age, but Deb shares a lot of the same dislike for that age.

Courtney and Christopher each have their own challenges now. Less so for the little guy, but I know that they are coming.

One advantage of having children though, is I can enjoy some of the things they are taking for granted by doing it with them. I probably wouldn’t admit it to Courtney, but I like the ‘dug out dude’ thing. First because I get to do something with her, but secondly because I get to be part of a sports team again. I ‘dragged’ Meghan to see the latest Harry Potter movie because I wanted to see it.

Having a toddler means you don’t have to grow up right? So showing your food, making farting noises with your armpit, throwing dinner rolls at the kids are all fair game right? So for a few minutes I get to be silly and not worry about everything.

So, yes I am somewhat jealous of my kids. But I also understand that while I’d like some of the things they have or get to do, I don’t want to go through what they are going to do again. I'll help and support them as they do it, but no way would I do it again.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

OMG My Kids Are On Facebook!

If you've been around social media for a while you've seen the articles, blogs and jokes about the college and high school kids freaking out as their parents joined Facebook.

Well, I have the opposite problem. My Kids are now on Facebook...

I've been on Facebook for a long time (well, relative to most people at least). I received one of the first non-college accounts within a week of it being open for anyone. Actually, I created two accounts one for work and one for home. Back in those days there wasn't a lot of privacy and grouping features so I wanted to keep those parts of my world apart.

Plus the reason I got the account was to figure out how to use social networks for marketing. Well, I think we nailed that one pretty well.

A year or so ago Meghan, my now 14 year old asked for a Facebook account. I thought about it for a minute and didn't see any reasons why not. I did set some ground rules, the main one is that I had to know the password and that I'd check it whenever I wanted. If I found she changed the password I would destroy the account (I own the main email address her email is created under so I can do that easily!)

She's very responsible so I didn't have any issues, nor think much about her having one. Since she sat in on my presentation about Facebook at Middle School I didn't think there would be any problems.

Then my brothers, their wives, my cousins, friends from high school, friends from college, friends from the neighborhood etc. started getting accounts. Again no big deal. Until realized that since Meghan is friends with Deb and I, that she is being 'suggested' to be friends with our friends. Not a good idea.

This year Courtney goes to Middle School, so I created her a Facebook account. Unlike Meghan who was on Facebook well before most of my friends, Courtney is 'new' so all my friends are now seeing her. And wanting to Friend her. Again, not good.

The reason it is not good, is there are some things we joke about or post that I don't want my 11 year old seeing or asking about. Or that the friends post.

Family is one thing to have as Friends, but I've been telling the girls not to accept or Friend adults without first talking to me. I'll see who they are and make the decision.

One more parenting thing I never expected. Sigh.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

3 Weeks to School?

Yes, it is late July and my kids have 3 weeks of summer left. Technically Meghan is done, since Band Camp starts tomorrow all week, then the week after.

Georgia has this bizarre schedule where we go back to school the first full week in August. Now they get out the Friday before Memorial Day, but it makes for a strange summer. Especially since it is fraking hot here until, oh October.

Summer went really fast this year. Deb's surprise party may have had something to do with it, but I don't feel like we sat down and relaxed at all so far.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

My Favorite Picture of Deb

So tomorrow is her 40th Birthday. Having thousands of pictures of her, from birth until two weeks ago (when she left for CT for her annual visit), this is my favorite.

I can't explain why, but I've had it in my briefcase since it was taken. Again there is some question on when it was taken, but it is great one of her!

Please call her, email, Facebook etc. to wish her a happy birthday!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Favorite Picture of Deb #2

My second most favorite picture of Deb!

I think this was in my apartment in college, she thinks it was at a neighbor's New Year's party a few years later. Either way, great picture!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Don't worry I fixed it

Interrupting my favorite pictures of my almost 40 year old wife ;-)

I found a really funny site of hacks, ghetto or redneck repairs. Now I've done my fair share of things to get something moving along or stopping a leak, but only long enough to fix it.

The site is here.

An example:

Favorite Picture of Deb #3

Two more to go! Remember, her birthday is July 3rd.

This was what she wore to dinner on our first anniversary.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Favorite Picture of Deb #4

This was taken as part of the engagement package we did.

Here are #7, #6, #5

Favorite Pictures of Deb #5

My Favorites of Deb, #5.

This is the first picture of us taken together in Greece. Yes we look really young don't we?

Pictures #6 and #7.

My Favorite Pictures of Deb #6

Continuing with my #6 favorite of Deb.

This was in September of 1989. No idea where she was going.

#7 is here.

My Favorites Pictures of Deb - #7

Deb's 40th Birthday is July 3rd. When preparing for her surprise party I (with the help of her Mom) got several hundred pictures of her, from all ages, and put together a slide show.

With 7 days until her birthday, I figured I'd share my favorites.

So, here is #7

This was taken a couple of days after we met in Greece

If you want to see about 120 of the pictures from the slide show, go here.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Did I mention I don't like to paint?

One of my tasks for this weekend was to paint the windows downstairs in the front and the front door . I'm smart enough to know that I don't want to do the whole house in one weekend, so I started in the front.

Did I mention I don't like to paint? Of course I picked the warmed/sunniest weekend we've had all spring. Friday night I washed down everything then Saturday primered the really bad spots. I was going to paint that afternoon, but it was way too hot.

Sunday morning Meghan helped me tape off everything that wasn't already taped due to the primer, then we started painting. She helped with the windows around the front door then decided she'd had enough. I guess watching DIY and TLC is one thing, doing it is another ;-)

It took me almost 3 hours to paint everything, then another hour to cleanup this evening after it cooled down a little bit.

So if you're a redneck if only your neck/shoulders are sunburned. What if only your back half is red? The sun was behind me the whole day so I have an interesting tan now!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Coke Classic Tournament May 8 and 9

Courtney's softball team was undefeated in regular play at their park so they won a trip to the Coke Classic softball tournament at Lost Mountain.

Their first game was earlier in the week, but I was at my company's User Conference so I couldn't attend. They won that one but it was a close game.

Friday night's game shaped up to be a big game because the team we were playing was also undefeated in their own park. Well, our girls stepped up and our defense shut them down.

Saturday was a long day. One of the longest in a couple of years. We arrived at the field at 9 am and didn't leave until 3:45. The girls played two great games, getting better and better with each inning. We 'won' the winners bracket so on Thursday we meet the winner of the 'losers' bracket for the championship!

Our regular pitcher and I have a bit of a game/contest going. If she doesn't walk the first batter she faces, I get her some chocolate. She's a Reese's peanut butter cup girl but won't turn away from regular chocolate. So the second half of the season if she didn't walk, I'd have chocolate waiting at the end of the inning. Friday, I went and got a bag of Hershey's miniatures so any girl that did well got one.

Of course, on Saturday I needed to do the same thing, so I got a bigger bag. Needless to say, with 10 and 11 year old girls that went over well.

For Friday's game the coaches told the girls they could 'paint' the hair of the coaches if we won. While I'm technically not a coach, apparently more than one girl wanted me to have pink hair. Thus the picture:

On Saturday we gave the girls two incentives: win the first and paint Coach Ray's fingernails hot pink. Win the second and they could throw whipped cream pies at the coaches. Well, we won both. First picture is Ray's pink nails.

However, you know the expression 'old age and trickery will overcome youth and exuberance'? Well, we got the girls back. We had them line up and 'take a picture'. But the coaches were behind the girls and on '3' shoved the plates into THEIR faces. Lots of fun!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Turn your back on a 3 year old for 1 minute

I guess I need to get something else for breakfast.

He took the plastic bag with the muffins that Meghan made and very quietly opened it and took a bite out of almost all of them.

It took a few minutes to clean up him and the floor.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

New (?) Car, new Blog

I just created a new blog to document the rebuilding of a rare, 1984 Mercury Capri RS Turbo I just bought. See it here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Now Courtney has a blog!

She bugged me all day yesterday and when I got home for dinner. So, introducing: Courtney's Blog!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I guess he didn't want me to clean up

After I cleaned up the many messes that Christopher makes in the family room each hour, he decided that he really wanted to play with all the trains.


More pictures in the flickr site.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Courtney Got a Homerun Yeah! Courtney Got a Homerun Yeah!

Today was the first game of the season and Courtney got off to a good start. First a bat she smashed a hit over the right-center fielder's head for a two run home run. She also started running like the lunatic she used to be. She was running so fast she caught up with the girl who was on first as they were rounding third!

(The title is the chant that the girls do when someone gets a hit.)

Second at bat she walked, but third at bat got another good, solid hit.

Her team won 21-3. It wasn't as much of a blow out as that sounds. The other team gave up 3 home runs to the same girl, but they were hitting as well. Our defense held them though.

We also went to touch-a-truck in Kennesaw. I'll post up pictures tomorrow.

Yes I as Dugout Dude again. I still have a voice though.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I remember now why I don't have ATVs

I am my boss' lake house for a product brainstorming meeting and he has a couple of motorcycles and ATVs. I've been riding a 4 wheeler all day (yes we did some work!).

This evening after dinner I took a 4 wheeler into the woods, but missed the turn to get back on the road. So I went off the side of the woods, over a 2+ foot rut and dumped the ATV. I didn't go over the handlebars at least. No major damage to the ATV or me, but I remember now why I don't have toys like this.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Psst, want a bowl your kid can't dump out?

This is from One Step Ahead, which makes pretty good stuff for the little ones.

Looks like it has a gyroscope in it to keep them from tipping it over.

Very good marketing team behind this ad. The kid is in the car, probably with a ton of Cheerio's and Goldfish. If he was Christoper they'd be all over the place by now.

We have that car seat too. If you do and you haven't had to take the cover off yet, be glad. I had to READ THE DIRECTIONS to get the cover off. Seriously, it is a car seat, I shouldn't need directions to take it apart!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

More reasons not to leave your computer or phone logged in and unattended

If you've been around Facebook or Twitter for even a little amount of time you've seen people with very strange status updates. Some silly, some really off color. Ever wondered what happened? More likely than not, the owner of that account left their cell phone or computer logged into those applications and not secured.

So some wise-ass friend decided to point this out by updating their status. Sometimes they are funny, but I don't know about you, but I think every one has that one friend who takes it too far. So, it isn't surprising to see that a meme is quickly building around this, call the Pants Status Meme.

The general idea is when you find an open account, don't be a jerk, but do try to be funny and preface it with 'pants meme' so people know it wasn't the owner posting. Some ideas:

Pants Status: <>
- plaid
- wrinkled
- on the floor
- not wearing any
- gone clamming (for those who don't know this one, think highwaters ;-)

To see what others are doing see this.

Also, remember if it happens to you just go to your profile or home page and delete the offending statements. Don't try to apologize.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Update on Molly: They have her!

We just received word that John and Katharine picked her up today. Katharine has a good write up on the first hours on their blog.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Friday the 13th is even more unique this time!

Think the world is going to end in 2012?

Well what about this:

"At 11:31:30pm UTC on Feb 13, 2009, Unix time will reach 1,234,567,890.
Where will you be at this momentous second?" - from Bell Labs
While not as big a deal as Y2K, this could be a significant event. Or not. If you don't know what 'UNIX Time' is, be very concerned. ;-)

I know I spent Y2K with a pager waiting for the world to end, so I'll have a beer or three tomorrow night to make up for it.

Sorry, just geeking out.


Monday, February 09, 2009

British Humor

I love the show. Now I can get some clothes! Too bad the US version was killed before it took off.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

How 70's Science Fiction influenced my interests today

How many can you name?


Unfortunately I didn't get into Dr. Who until a few years ago, but I know most of the others. I had a Space 1999 ship. I remember begging my parents for one for Christmas.

I also remember watching UFO with my Dad. Ah mini-skirts and purple hair

If you want to try to figure them out, see here and here.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Dad & Daughter Dance

Last night Courtney and I went to the Girl Scout Dad and Daughter dance. The theme was 50's to 80's and everyone was encouraged to dress up.

Being a child of the 80's I knew the style I wanted, I just didn't have the clothes! I couldn't find any suit jackets that were white or pink. Nor could I find my old boat shoes (must have left them at a fight?).

So I settled for a pink izod shirt, over a white izod shirt, black chino's and shoes. Unfortunately I don't have white high tops any more. I also couldn't find my skinny black tie. I'm sure Deb has hidden all of these things.

Courtney had a very nice dress that would have fit into the 80s. Except she wouldn't let Deb 'poof' her hair. She did look very cute.

We first went to dinner at Chili's then to the dance. She and I danced to a lot of songs including some from the 50's 60's and 70's. (They didn't do a lot of 80's music.) We also did the Chicken Dance and the 'stomp' thing they do in school (The one where you 'slide to the right')

Most of the girls were dressed up and a bunch of the Dads. One was Steve Perry, there were lots of hippies, a couple of skinny tie'd and lots of 50's greasers.

I don't know which was funnier: Courtney's look during 'play that funky music white boy' or 'Shout' (Animal House) where we were on the floor.

After the dance she was of course hungry, so we had to get desert. On the way I was clicking through the radio stations and Aqualung by Jethro Tull came on. I started singing and, in an attitude only an 11 year old can pull off, she said 'Um okay Dad. Are we there yet?'

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Misguided 'environmental' idea and the next round of stimulus welfare

Our friends in Congress are again trying to use the economy problems that they created to push their environmentalist agenda. While I support helping the environment, dumping my tax dollars into a poorly thought out, ripe for fraud plan is unacceptable.

I'm talking about the 'cash for clunkers' plan that the Senate Democrats are trying to stick into the next round of welfare, I mean stimulus plan.

Basically, if you turn in a junker car, which doesn't necessarily have to be running, Congress will give you thousands towards a new car. California tried this in the 90s and it failed, so why does Congress think it will work now?

If you agree that there are better ways of stimulating the economy, without the fraud found when California tried this, please write your Senator and Speaker Pelosi.

From SEMA, some points on what to say in your message.

Dear Speaker Pelosi

I am writing to urge lawmakers not to include a "Cash for Clunkers" provision in the economic stimulus bill. Owners who turn in vehicles for crushing would receive a "minimal" payment to purchase a new car. This is a misguided attempt to spur car sales and claim that the country's air quality or fleet fuel mileage is being improved.

* "Cash for Clunkers" programs threaten enthusiasts nationwide with the loss of valuable parts and parts-cars for repair, restoration, and customization projects. The programs also risk destroying classic, historic and special-interest vehicles, our American heritage.

* Cars turned in for scrappage often barely run, or are rarely-driven second or third vehicles that have a minimal impact on overall fuel economy or emissions.

* "Cash for Clunkers" programs will reduce the availability of affordable transportation and repair parts used by low-income drivers. It will also compete with the Salvation Army, the Purple Heart and other charities that rely on vehicle donations to raise money.

* "Cash for Clunkers" ignores better policy options. If Congress wants to act, support for repair and upgrade is a better choice and a win-win for consumers, dealers, manufacturers and repair shops. Significant emissions and fuel economy improvements can be achieved in older vehicles through relatively simple and inexpensive means: repaired/replaced exhaust systems, tune-ups, etc.

* I hope I can count on you to reject "Cash for Clunkers." Thank you for your consideration on this very important matter.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Blackjack II battery

I was finally able to get Deb her Christmas present last weekend, and instead of an iPhone I bought her a Blackjack II. It fit her needs better than the iPhone. Plus it was a lot less ;-)

One issue though: the battery lasted less than 12 hours. Not good for a mom on the run chasing a Toddler, a Tweener and a Teenager.

I looked around and found the problem on an obscure site. The issue was the 'beam' feature of the phone was sucking lots of battery power. This is the feature that allows someone to 'beam' you their contacts from their phone. Since Deb stopped going to bars without me, she doesn't need that any more.

Turning it off and she has had a full charge for the last 3 days. Cool.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Courtney is 11!

Courtney's 11th birthday was yesterday. More pictures on the Flickr site.

I don't know where they get the idea of messing with the cake.

She is a serious shoe girl. She got 2 pairs of boots.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Silver lining on being older?

So, I'm 40 now. Even though I don't act it much. Today I had a reminder why it is good to be older.

While putting gas in the mini-van (No, having a mini-van isn't a good part of being older. stop it) it started raining pretty hard. I just put in the credit card, filled up and looked around. I don't care it was raining, the pumps were under a roof.

A young man, late teens probably, got out of his car and ran into the store, getting soaked in the process, to pay cash for his gas. Then ran back out. I'm still dry watching him.

I remember being that kid running into the gas station because I didn't have a credit card. So chalk one up for a good credit rating ;-)

I remember my Dad always used to say something along the lines of 'old age, experience and trickery will out smart youth and energy'. I guess I'm starting to understand what he used to mean.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Yeah, when I was I kid we had to go on the roof to move the antenna to watch TV!

With all the talk about over the air digital TV I had some strange memories of watching TV via an antenna as a kid today.

First, I remember my dad going to radio shack to buy one of these on the roof antennas. But not just any antenna, one that had a motor on it. I don't remember exactly why we did this, but I suspect it was because we needed to watch the Giants.

Next I had to help my dad put it on the roof, attached to the fireplace. And not fall off.

Then run the cable, probably 1" wide, down the side of the house, in the window and to the TV. For those who remember my parent's house this is why we had those metal spikes in the side of the house until they got cable ;-)

We also had to run a ground wire. I remember Patrick joking about the ground wire for some reason, pretending to be electrocuted.

Anyway, this thing was the balls for the 1970s. When you turned on the TV, you could move the dial that went 359 degrees around and it would move the antenna the same degrees. So you'd start with the TV on the football game you wanted to watch, then turn the knob until the picture got good then turn it back when it went bad. I remember fighting over which position was 'best' for a particular channel.

In those days we had maybe 8 channels? NBC, CBS, ABC out of New York, CBS out of Hartford, Fox 5 (the original!) out of New York, PBS out of New York and Channels 9 and 11 (Mets and Yankees respectively). None of this 600 channels with nothing on. We had 8 channels with nothing on!

Anyway, as more people are trying to get HDTV over the airwaves I have to wonder if these antennas are coming back.

yeah, that was pretty random.